Home Made Caramel Popcorn

I had a sweet tooth over the weekend and there was nothing sweet in the house (I got rid of all the temptations) so I decided to make a sweet, delicious snack that takes a couple minutes to put together. I raided my cupboard and found that I only had popcorn, so I decided to make caramel popcorn.

Step One:
Prepare the Caramel Sauce, here is the recipe:

Ingredients

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon light-colored corn syrup (optional)
1/2 cup whipping or heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (optional)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)

Methods

  • In a medium to large saucepan, add the sugar, water, corn syrup and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Allow the mixture to boil for 5 to 12 minutes until it turns caramel colored. Keep a watchful eye as sugar boils very quickly and can easily burn. Stir when necessary to prevent a built of crystallized sugar on the corners of the pan.
  • As soon as the sauce has turned caramel-colored, reduce the heat to low.
  • Very carefully and slowly, add the cream.  Be careful, the mixture will bubble.
  • Carefully add the vanilla and salt, to taste.  
  • Whisk until sauce is smooth and combined; allow it to boil for another minute, to allow the sauce to thicken.
  • Transfer sauce to glass jar or heat-safe. Allow sauce to cool uncovered to room temperature; sauce thickens considerably as it cools. If the sauce gets too thick, add warm water and mix thoroughly to thin it out.  
  • Sauce will keep airtight at room temp for about one month.  

Step Two:
Pop the corn. I use Goya Yellow Popcorn. You can use any popcorn you like or any plain microwave popcorn. 

Step Three:
Add Caramel Sauce to popcorn.   

Combine Popcorn with Caramel sauce

 

Step Four:
Enjoy!

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Be Inspired: Caged Bird by Maya Angelou

To say that I love Maya Angelou is an understatement. She was the epitome of a strong woman. She knew herself and was unapologetic about who she was or what she believed in. Her poems inspire me not to be bewildered by my circumstances, but to rise above them and be the best person that I can be.

Here is…Caged Bird…

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill 
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom. 

Is it Ever Okay to Objectify a Woman?

The term objectify, defined by Dictionary.com means ‘to present as an object, especially of sight, touch, or other physical sense’. To objectify a person means to reduce them to mere objects, often, objects of sex and/or physical gratification. From my vantage point, there are varying degrees of objectification; there is the misogynist objectification, the male chauvinist objectification, societal objectification and self objectification.

Misogynist objectification is the complete reduction of women to mere objects with no regard for her dignity, rights or feelings. The woman is treated to the extent of which she is needed, to pleasure the man and to bear his children. The Male chauvinist objectification regards women as not being worthy or deserving of any other treatment but that of an object. The chauvinist treats her as if she is made to be treated as the play thing of the man. Societal objectification is where the woman’s body is used as a tool, a means to an end, whether it is to increase a company’s bottom line, to improve its visibility or brand or to make it more appealing to the consuming public.  Societal objectification influences the masses to believe that women should be sexualized and their bodies perpetually put on full display. Women as a result believe that they should be sexualized and objectified, and in turn objectify themselves. They understand that appearance is important to both society and the opposite sex; as a result, some women reduce themselves to mere boobs, butt, and thighs.

The issue of female objectification is an age old topic; women have be objectified and sexualized since the dawn of time, so much so, that women have fought tirelessly to be viewed by society and men not as the bearer of children and pleasurer of men but as smart, intelligent, capable human beings who are equal to all men. It is ironic though, that the fight for women’s rights and equality have been sullied, women now no longer wait for men to objectify them, they do it themselves.

Many women objectify themselves without even knowing it while others do it, simply because it is expected. We have become so consumed by sex and sexuality that we cannot exist, identify ourselves or operate in a world without it. Sex has become an integral part of our daily lives, it is in the magazines, on the news, in music videos, on advertisements, and just about everywhere you look. We are living in a sexualized era, sex and sexuality is no longer taboo.

Some women as part of their identity, have embraced and celebrated their own sexuality, they put it out there for the world to see, objectifying themselves on their own terms, beating society to the punch. Society frown on these women for being too sexual, they frown upon them for doing the same thing that is being done to them.

I am a woman, as such, I am a sexual being, I want to feel sexy, I want to feel wanted and desired. I, like most women, in some instances, want to be admired for how good we look. We want to be told that we look wonderful, ravishing all those good stuff. We do not want the fact that we look fabulous in our bikinis to be all that matters. We want to our bodies to be celebrated not objectified!

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Live Every Day As If It Is Your Last

There are so many things that go wrong on a daily basis, so many people who lose their lives, so many people who discover they have a terminal illness every day…conversely, there are people who take advantage of their blessings every day, people who make it their goal in life to destroy someone, break someone or take advantage of someone.

In this day and age, on this the 323rd day of the 2015th year of our Lord when car bombings, mass shootings and kidnappings are apart of everyday live, when someone being gang raped is no longer shocking, on this day, take a minute and give thanks for all the blessings in your life. Give God thanks for your friends, your family (even the jealous ones who wishes you no good) and the fact that you get a chance to experience life for another day, to love another day. Enjoy every moment you have, give God thanks because you don’t know when you will be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

…Selah!

The Importance of Music

Hello Friends, it has been a very long time since I last spoke to you, I’ve missed you. I have been super busy with a new job and wedding plans…Yes folks, I’m getting married!!!!!!…and I’m enjoying every minute of it…it takes it toll sometimes and I get overwhelmed, but I always come back to being happy and super excited …

Something happened recently, that I must share…as we all know, being in a new job can be very stressful and overwhelming at times. There is the need to please and do everything perfect, getting along with new co-workers and getting familiar with the new environment.  At one point I found myself being unable to cope. It seemed like everything was going wrong and I couldn’t think straight. I was becoming increasingly annoyed at the simplest things and nothing seemed to make me happy…even though I was. I thought to myself, what is wrong? What is missing? I have everything I want at this point. I’m getting married to the love of my life, I have a great new job, I have hot body (I’ve been exercising J), my hair is on fleek, my family and fiancee are happy and healthy, my job was fine for the most part…what was the problem?          

So one day I was going through some of my old computer files and I came across my music folder, and I found Flawless by Beyoncé (yasss…Beyoncé!) and I started to sing it, I got into it, i did the hand jesters and all (I got down – in my chair that is J) and it moved to another song, and I sang that one, and it went on and on for about an hour…and to tell you the truth, at the end of that hour, I felt happy again, I felt energized and more motivated….I thought to myself, wow, why didn’t I try this earlier?!

For those who know me, I love music, music is an integral part of who I am, I never however realized that music could be so much more than entertainment.

According to researchers, music is much more than entertainment, it provides several benefits to listeners:

Music Reliefs Pain

Listening to music can reduce chronic pain from a range of painful conditions, including osteoarthritis, disc problems and rheumatoid arthritis, by up to 21% and depression by up to 25%. Music therapy is used in hospitals to reduce the need for medication during childbirth, to decrease postoperative pain and complement the use of anesthesia during surgery.

Music Boots Immunity

Music can boost the immune function. Scientists explain that a particular type of music can create a positive and profound emotional experience, which leads to secretion of immune-boosting hormones. This helps contribute to a reduction in the factors responsible for illness. Listening to music or singing can also decrease levels of stress-related hormone cortisol.

Music improves Memory and aids Learning

Learning potential can be increased a minimum of five times by using this 60 beats per minute music. Bulgarian psychologist, Dr. George Lozanov proved that students were able to learn and retain foreign languages quicker, they through his methods, could learn and retain 1,000 words or phrases in one day. He has proven that foreign languages can be learned with 85-100% efficiency in only thirty days by using classical music pieces from the baroque period.

Speeds Post-Stroke Recovery

A daily portion of one’s favorite pop melodies, classical music or jazz can speed recovery from debilitating strokes, according to researchers. Music listening after stroke not only promotes behavioral recovery, but also induces fine-grained neuroanatomical changes in the recovering brain

Active listening amps up happiness

A recent study contradicts the old adage that actively trying to feel happier is useless. In a research by Ferguson and Sheldon (2013), participants who listened to upbeat classical compositions by Aaron Copland, while actively trying to feel happier, felt their moods lift more than those who passively listened to the music. This suggests that engaging with music, rather than allowing it to wash over us, gives the experience extra emotional power.

I could go on and on about the numerous benefits that listening to music provides. If you need a pick-me-up or you want to regain your will and improve your mood and outlook all together, listen to some happy uplifting music. You will definitely thank me later.

 Hope You Enjoyed 🙂

References:

http://www.cerebromente.org.br/n15/mente/musica.html

http://www.emedexpert.com/tips/music.shtml

http://themindunleashed.org/2014/03/10-magical-effects-music-mind.html

Song of the Week: 5 Songs Im Totally Loving!

Music is a drug like no other. No matter how depressed or down and out you may feel, it always makes you feel better, in ways a prescription would never be able to do. There are some songs that just take you back, let you feel young and hip again, and there are some songs that takes you back to that moment in your life when things were simple and easy.

We all have those songs that just manipulate us, whether by making us dance (sometimes very awkwardly), cry or just stand still and take it in. Music is a gift, a lifter of spirits, a cure for lonely days and an avenue for vicarious living.

There are so many songs out there, but there are few that I just can’t stop singing: Shake it Off by Taylor Swift, All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor, Bang, Bang by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, Chandelier by Sia and Let It Be by Labrinth.

…These are the songs that I am so into right now, so if you want to shake your groove thang, just hit play!

*Singing*… ‘I’m all about that bass’ Bout that bass, no treble…..

Hope You Enjoyed 🙂

 

DIY: Transform a Skirt into a Strapless Peplum Blouse

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I love clothes, I love finding unique pieces that are cute and versatile. However, in this economic climate, sustaining my love of tea length skirts and peplum blouses are not top ten on my monthly budget. I, like most fashionistas-in-the-making are on a tight budget. With this hurdle, I have to either do without my retail fix, or find new cheap ways of making it happen, the answer…DIY!

Yes honey (in my Tamar voice), DIY is here to the rescue! I thank God for the day Pintrest was created. There are so many DIY projects just waiting to be attempted. I am not particularly crafty, but I am good with my hands, and I love turning things I envision into reality. I haven’t really attempted a project of this nature before, I was anxiously excited.

I wasn’t too sure how it would turn out, but I tried. And I loved the end result, you will too with a little effort and patience. If I did it, so can you! Here are the steps:

Step # 1 – Select the right Skirt

Select a skirt that is at least 1 ½ times the size of your breast. The skirt you choose must also be long enough to make the frilly peplum ends. The skirt fabric should be one that would not unravel when cut. I chose polyester – cotton blend fabric.

Photo1160_Fotor

 

 Step # 2 – Remove waist and zipper from Skirt

I chose a skirt with an elastic waist, so there was no hassle removing the waist. If you have another type of difficult-to-remove-waist in your skirt, simply cut off the waist completely. After removing the waist, remove the zipper gently. Keep the zipper; you may be able to reuse it.

Elastic

This should be the result:

  Photo1172

 

Step # 3 – Cut the Bodice and bottom of Peplum

Cut the fabric in two halves – One for the bodice and the other for the peplum. To get a snug fit, ensure that you do an accurate measurement of your bust.

Photo1173 

Measure your bust and add 2 inches on each side (back & front) for the zipper and other adjustments. Ensure that the bodice stops at the navel. To cut the bottom part of the peplum blouse, get a similar peplum blouse; trace the peplum on your cut fabric, cut as accurately as possible. Your finished product should look like a semi-circle when folded, and a full circle with a little circle in the middle when opened.

circle

 

Step # 4 – Add Zipper and Darts to bodice

Use the top half of the skirt for the bodice, iron out all previous hems. Cut the fabric at the seams, one for the front of the blouse and the other for the back. Cut the back part in half to make room for the zipper, here is a great zipper tutorial.

 Photo1186

The zipper should be facing down, this makes it easier to put on and off. After adding the zipper, join both pieces of fabric.

Photo1190 

Fold the fabric about half inch for the facing, iron the fold to ensure accuracy. Hem the facing.

Photo1177

 Try on the bodice to ensure that everything is in order. If it fits snugly, proceed to add the peplum, if not, add darts to give a better fit, here is a great dart tutorial.

Step # 5: Connect Peplum to Bodice

Photo1193

 Turn the bodice and peplum inside out. Sew the peplum to the base of the bodice. Ensure that the stitch that you use is secure enough to prevent separation of the top and bottom pieces. Cut the peplum at one of the seams (you should have two semi-circles connected at one end). Start sewing one side of the peplum to the bodice where the zipper starts. Leave about an inch for heming. Sew until the peplum is completely connected. An opening should be at the back of the blouse to facilitate the zipper.

Step # 6: Enjoy Your New Creation

Photo1199

I love this piece, not only because I sew it by hand but because it is very cute and goes it almost everything.

I absolutely love my new strapless peplum blouse. I paired it with black jean, flip flops, red nails, and a pop of shimmer with my silver necklace and silver hoops (not visible).

finish

Black and White is very versatile, it can be paired with black pencil skirt and heels, red skirt or red jeans, yellow, basically any color you can think of.

I hope your peplum blouse turned out as great as mine did!

 Hope You Enjoyed 🙂